Dubai is as a city-wide open art gallery, for hidden in its streets are masterpiece murals, storey-tall stencil works and ground-breaking examples of graffiti – the whole urban expanse is one giant canvas.
Join us for a gallery tour of artistic streets, and where to find them.
Karama is a city district that wears its passions unashamedly on its sleeves. A buzzing neighbourhood filled with charismatic cosmopolitan eateries, colourful markets and since 2016’s street artist take-over, some super gnarly street art. There are 24 murals of varying style and composition to peruse, all in perfect proximity to some of the best biryani houses you’ll find the UAE.
The crisscrossing boulevards of Satwa now sport some pretty radical glyphs on their walls. Satwa was the focal point of the first phase of the Dubai Street Museum project where and international cadre of creatives were brought together to finesse a collection of urban artwork realness.
This beachside diamond is one of Dubai’s most recent and prolific street art hubs. It’s a project conceived by the creative geniuses at Meraas, and endowed with countless extra expert daubs of street paint courtesy of being the staging area for 2018’s Dubai Canvas 3D art festival. If you can tear yourself away from the beaches, waterpark, retro cinema and countless epic eating options – your eyes are in for a gleaming aesthetic feast.
Which neatly brings us to 2017’s location for the Dubai Canvas 3D art festival, and another Meraas triumph. City Walk flexes some HUGE names in the street art game – Blek Le Rat, Nick Walker, Eine, Magda Sayeg, Rone. The list goes on but name dropping is such tiresome toil. This Jumeirah-based precinct is teaming with hidden works, we urge all authentic art fans to spend a day seeking them out.
The next phase of Brand Dubai’s Dubai Street Museum Project saw artists giving poetic life to the supporting struts of the Dubai Metro. Daniel Cortez and Evoca1 emptied their artistic souls onto these column-shaped canvases and we’re still in awe.
Ah, low-rise Jumeirah – home to artisanal coffee shops, eccentric gardening, hyper mansions and ART. Yeah, tonnes of it. But it’s spread out amongst the winding maze of affluent estates. Keep your eyes open for crafted odes to a simpler time, calligraphy pieces and works of stunning artistic realism.
Was the location for the 2016 Dubai Canvas 3D art festival. It’s one of South Dubai’s busiest tourist thoroughfares, so it flies a well-known flag for Emirati art. The 3D murals still look fresh enough to catch a glimpse of something new, every time you see them.
Here you’ll find massive sculptural works from some of the global art scene’s leading lights. We’re talking eL Seed, Donald Greig, Jorge Marin and Lutfi Romhein. Plus if you look up, there’s enough physics-defying architecture in this quarter to keep your pupils fully dilated.
Dubai is home to some incredibly talented humans. Each year in March/April the art scene takes over the city with a multitude of art fairs and festivals. All year round you can catch exhibitions and open studios at places like Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz, Dubai Design District, and the historical quarter, Al Fahidi. There are far too many champions of the scene to attempt crediting them all. But one of our enduring favourites is Ramy Elzaghawy (@t.ra.my Instagram handle), just check out some of his work at City Centre Me’aisem.